A romantic nighttime stroll, an art park with games for the whole family, and a newly renovated art making space with artist studios are just a few of the changes coming to the Jeffersonville Arts and Cultural District.
The district, in a revived section of downtown Jeffersonville centered at 700 W. Michigan Ave., will be the hub of Jeffersonville’s thriving arts scene. It is home to the Vintage Fire Museum, the Clark County Museum, and will be a cultural center.
Dedicated in 2017, the space will undergo major changes in the next year. I caught up with Jeffersonville’s Public Arts Administrator Dawn Spyker for an update about what folks can expect in the coming months. She said there are five initiatives they’re working on now.
“The one I believe will be completed first is the refurbished parking lot surrounding the [Vintage] Fire Museum,” said Spyker. “Currently, it is being milled and paved. Poles are being set for shade sails, a new sidewalk has been poured around the perimeter, and we had asphalt extracted and sod installed to add green space.”
When that paving is complete, a master applicator from Tennessee assist with the paint job. Benches, seats, and oversized games will be added to help make the area interactive.
Students from local elementary school Thomas Jefferson learned about the artist Picasso and then created Picasso-style faces during a one-day field trip. These hand-painted "Picasso on a Pole" works will be displayed on light poles in the park. Spyker is eyeing a June completion date for this phase.
Next up is the arts center renovation. Located at 628 Michigan Avenue, the space will undergo a major interior renovation and roofing rehab.
“We’re in the middle of designing around the interior of that space to accommodate about six permanent artist spaces and to leave room for community art making,” said Spyker.
Visitors to Jeffersonville can expect a lot of activity here in the coming months. For example, artist Will Sieg will wrap up the water tank painting project with a completion date of late summer or early fall, and an illuminated walking path will be installed.
The walking path will extend from the Big Four Bridge park to the arts and cultural district. The route is set, and the team is working on construction drawings. The city will purchase acorn lights, projectors and other accents to engage the community along the pathway.
The final major update for the Arts and Cultural district will be the rehab of what is known as the depot area, which sits near the Vintage Fire Museum. It will be home to a project that is being designed by Boxman Studios. The company is a major designer that refurbishes metal shipping containers.
“We are working through some conceptual renderings and construction drawings for each of the cubes,” said Spyker. “There are three different functions. They won’t necessarily look like shipping containers once we’re done. They’re going to be different sizes. We’re going to have artists in cubes and we’ll have at least eight of those. We’ll have a stage. Even the restrooms will be made that way.”
This project will be underway starting this fall. Both the depot and the walking path are set for completion by spring 2019.
It’s an exciting time to visit Jeffersonville especially if you’re watching arts and cultural happenings. Keep your eyes peeled and be sure to get out to the public art making events.